Wills and Estates

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What You Need to Know About Wills

SGM Legal can provide accurate and detailed advice on all matters relating to wills and the administration of your deceased loved one’s estate. The law regarding what happens when someone passes away can be more complex and involved than you may expect and that is where SGM Legal can help.

What is a Will?

A will allows you specify how your estate is to be distributed when you pass away. The State of Victoria has legislative provisions dictating how a person’s estate is to be distributed if that person dies without a legal will, however the provisions contained in the law are very restrictive. It is usually limited to your spouse and children, or otherwise your next of kin. A will gives you the power to decide how you want your property divided, and who you want to benefit. A will also gives you the ability to donate part of your estate to charities or other organisations, whereas the legislation if you die without a will does not allow for this.

As a will is essentially a list of instructions as to what happens to your property when you die, it is important that a will is drafted carefully with legal expertise. This can reduce the possibility of someone contesting your will when it is executed.

Best Practices for Wills

It is also important to regularly update your will. If you divorce, or remarry, the will you had in place at that time becomes void and can no longer be executed. It is therefore wise to renew your will and update it when there is a change in your circumstances. This ensures that your will accurately reflects your wishes.

What happens to superannuation benefits when you pass away can be a difficult to understand. Did you know that you do not technically own your super? Because of this, superannuation does not automatically form part of your estate, and therefore, unless your will is done correctly, you may not be covered. To ensure your superannuation is distributed in accordance with your wishes, you need to make a Binding Death Nomination which work best in symbiosis with your will. A Binding Death Nomination is essentially a legal document, written to the trustees of your superannuation fund, that instructs how your superannuation should be distributed upon your death. The Binding Death Nomination is usually only valid for three years from the date it was signed, last amended, or confirmed. It will not be valid until the superannuation fund has approved it. The scenario may be even more complex if you have a Self Managed Super Fund.

lawyer signing documents

Legal Advice

We can provide excellent legal advice in relation to all areas of estate law, from drafting a simple or complex will and powers of attorney, codicils, through to Letters of Administration, Grants of Probate, and complex Estate Disputes. We also can assist you with Binding Death Nominations for your superannuation fund, or updating your will after your divorce, or if you remarry.

If your loved one has passed away without a will, SGM Legal can help administer the estate, addressing any queries you may have regarding the process.

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